A little while back, the TOS Crew and I took a look at All About Spelling's first venture into beginning readers. This All About Reading Beehive Reader was wonderful, and the full review of that is HERE. Now, we've been asked to take a look at level 2 volume one called What Am I?
What Am I? is a collection of short stories. In the same way that the Beehive Reader I coordinates perfectly with All About Spelling Level 1, What Am I? is designed to coordinate perfectly with All About Spelling Level 2, but it also functions as a stand alone reader for those not using AAS. The book is hard cover, beautifully bound, and 160 pages long. The stories themselves are more advanced than the ones in the Beehive Reader I (this is level 2 after all). What Am I? contains ten stories about everything from robots to horses to a bus stop. They are printed on the same heavy duty non-glare paper used for the Beehive Reader I (which I understand is being renamed Cobweb the Cat) and have the same type of amazing illustrations.
The pros: This book is such high quality, there just is no comparison. The illustrations alone make the book worth buying-they are that good. Unlike other readers, these stories are actual stories, not just a poor attempt to put age appropriate words into a book for kids to practice reading. Some are even written with more poetic-type stanzas or in the style of more mature prose-they are definitely NOT your cheap-o reader from the big box store.
The cons: The one thing missing on this book that the first one had is the tiny dots under the words to help readers track their progress as they read each line. While I am assuming the thought is that as readers progress they don't need that visual clue as much, and while other beginner readers never use them, I missed them in this book, and so did my daughter who struggles to read well. The robot story, which is meant to look like it is written on notebook paper was the easiest for her to read because the notebook paper lines functioned like those little dots in the Beehive Reader I to help her keep her place as she reads.
The bottom line: You can't go wrong with this reader. This winter, an entire reading curriculum called All About Reading will be unveiled, and these readers will tie in with that series as well as All About Spelling, but again, they are fabulous as stand alone books too. I cannot recommend this book, or it's companion, or the company behind them highly enough!
To check out the Beehive Reader I (soon to be Cobweb the Cat-a more child friendly name) and any day now be able to check out and purchase What Am I? for $19.95, go HERE (the book was due out April 1st, but I don't see it on the website a of today). To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE.
Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I was given an advanced copy of What Am I? to review. That book was the only compensation I received.